What is Bitcoin and How Do You Buy It?

Everything you need to know about getting in the on cryptocurrency rage

bitcoin chart

Cryptocurrency is all the rage, but it might not be for everyone.

You may have seen mention of Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency on the news in the past few months, but do you understand what it’s really all about? No worries, we’ll give you a brief overview and help you walk away with a general understanding of Bitcoin and if you want how to make your first cryptocurrency purchase.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency and was developed in 2008 by the anonymous person (or group) known as Satoshi Nakamota. Satoshi developed the rules of Bitcoin and the blockchain, more on that later, and then released the software to the world in 2009.

Can I mine Bitcoin?

In the early days of the Bitcoin revolution there were many that “mined” Bitcoin. Of course, it was relatively easy to do with some high-end CPU’s as the difficulty level was pretty low. The way Bitcoin was designed as time progressed and more coins were mined the difficulty level would increase. Thus taking more resources and time to successfully mine a block of Bitcoin. After a time CPU’s really couldn’t cut it and miners moved on to graphics cards designed for gaming, some pretty high-powered cards that cost as much as $1,200 each! So, while you can technically mine bitcoin, the return on investment isn’t the best.

After you buy a good case and power supply, motherboard, processor and at least a pair of those high-priced GPU’s you could be approaching $3,000. And the chances of successfully mining a block of coins solo isn’t that high. You’ll have the most success participating in a mining pool and you only get a share of the spoils at that point.

To help dash your dreams of mining Bitcoin solo and striking it rich, you’ve got to contend with professional mining companies. Yes, there are Bitcoin mining companies that have data centers dedicated to the task. Typically located where electricity is ultra cheap, like next to hydroelectric dams in China, these companies are the ones doing most of the successful mining.

How many Bitcoin are there?

When Bitcoin was conceived and the whole blockchain movement started it was already “part of the system” that there would be a limit on the number of coins that could be mined and that was set at 21 million. While it’s technically possible for the protocol to be be changed to increase the number, that’s unlikely to occur. More likely is the splits that have already been occurring, typically called a fork of Bitcoin.

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Written by Jake Schaaf

Jake has been a tech geek his entire life starting with the Commodore 64 his parents bought him at the age of 13 around 1990. His experience and knowledge is mostly self-taught and through real-world experience. Some of that experience includes a stint in communications with the Army National Guard. He is a husband and father and enjoys making memories with his family. He is also an entrepreneur that has built a well respected and growing IT consulting firm.

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